Nature of Tokugawa Foreign Relations

6/28/2020 Week 7 Tokugawa Era Library of Congress Country Studies JapanTOKUGAWA PERIOD, 1600-1867Rule of Shogun and DaimyoAn evolution had taken place in the centuries from the time of the Kamakura bakufu, which existed inequilibrium with the imperial court, to the Tokugawa, when the bushi became the unchallenged rulers in whathistorian Edwin O. Reischauer called a “centralized feudal” form of government. Instrumental in the rise of thenew bakufu was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main beneficiary of the achievements of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi.Already powerful, Ieyasu profited by his transfer to the rich Kanto area. He maintained 2.5 million koku of land,had a new headquarters at Edo, a strategically situated castle town (the future Tokyo), and had an additional 2million koku of land and thirtyeight vassals under his control. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu moved quickly toseize control from the Toyotomi family.Ieyasu’s victory over the western daimyo at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) gave him virtual control of all Japan.He rapidly abolished numerous enemy daimyo houses, reduced others, such as that of the Toyotomi, andredistributed the spoils of war to his family and allies. Ieyasu still failed to achieve complete control of thewestern daimyo, but his assumption of the title of shogun helped consolidate the alliance system. After furtherstrengthening his power base, Ieyasu was confident enough to install his son Hidetada (1579-1632) as shogunand himself as retired shogun in 1605. The Toyotomi were still a significant threat, and Ieyasu devoted the nextdecade to their eradication. In 1615 the Toyotomi stronghold at Osaka was destroyed by the Tokugawa army.The Tokugawa (or Edo) period brought 200 years of stability to Japan. The political system evolved into whathistorians call bakuhan, a combination of the terms bakufu and han (domains) to describe the government andsociety of the period. In the bakuhan, the shogun had national authority and the daimyo had regional authority, anew unity in the feudal structure, which had an increasingly large bureaucracy to administer the mixture ofcentralized and decentralized authorities. The Tokugawa became more powerful during their first century ofrule: land redistribution gave them nearly 7 million koku, control of the most important cities, and a landassessment system reaping great revenues.The feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyo. Closest to the Tokugawa house were theshinpan, or “related houses.” They were twenty-three daimyo on the borders of Tokugawa lands, daimyo alldirectly related to Ieyasu. The shinpan held mostly honorary titles and advisory posts in the bakufu. The secondclass of the hierarchy were the fudai, or “house daimyo,” rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdingsfor their faithful service. By the eighteenth century, 145 fudai controlled such smaller han, the greatest assessedat 250,000 koku. Members of the fudai class staffed most of the major bakufu offices. Ninety-seven han formedthe third group, the tozama (outside vassals), former opponents or new allies. The tozama were located mostlyon the peripheries of the archipelago and collectively controlled nearly 10 million koku of productive land.Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyo, they were the most cautiously managed and generouslytreated, although they were excluded from central government positions.The Tokugawa not only consolidated their control over a reunified Japan, they also had unprecedented powerover the emperor, the court, all daimyo, and the religious orders. The emperor was held up as the ultimate sourceof political sanction for the shogun, who ostensibly was the vassal of the imperial family. The Tokugawa helpedthe imperial family recapture its old glory by rebuilding its palaces and granting it new lands. To ensure a closetie between the imperial clan and the Tokugawa family, Ieyasu’s granddaughter was made an imperial consort in1619. file:///C:/Users/spanishprince143/AppData/Local/Temp/Temp1_Japan a Country Study Week 7.html (1).zip/My Files/Japan a Country Study Week 7.html 1/2 6/28/2020 Week 7 Tokugawa Era A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyo houses. The code encompassed private conduct, marriage,dress, and types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed; required alternateyear residence at Edo; prohibitedthe construction of ocean-going ships; proscribed Christianity; and stipulated that bakufu regulations were thenational law. Although the daimyo were not taxed per se, they were regularly levied for contributions formilitary and logistical support and for such public works projects as castles, roads, bridges, and palaces. Thevarious regulations and levies not only strengthened the Tokugawa but also depleted the wealth of the daimyo,thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became merelocal administrative units. The daimyo did have full administrative control over their territory and their complexsystems of retainers, bureaucrats, and commoners. Loyalty was exacted from religious foundations, alreadygreatly weakened by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, through a variety of control mechanisms. Seclusion and Social ControlLike Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but also was suspicious of outsiders. He wanted to make Edo amajor port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyushu and that China had rejected his plansfor official trade, he moved to control existing trade and allowed only certain ports to handle specific kinds ofcommodities.The “Christian problem” was, in effect, a problem controlling both the Christian daimyo in Kyushu and tradewith the Europeans. By 1612 the shogun’s retainers and residents of Tokugawa lands had been ordered toforeswear Christianity. More restrictions came in 1616 (the restriction of foreign trade to Nagasaki and Hirado,an island northwest of Kyushu), 1622 (the execution of 120 missionaries and converts), 1624 (the expulsion ofthe Spanish), and 1629 (the execution of thousands of Christians). Finally, in 1635 an edict prohibited anyJapanese from traveling outside Japan or, if someone left, from ever returning. In 1636 the Portuguese wererestricted to Deshima, a man-made islet–and thus, not true Japanese soil–in Nagasaki’s harbor.The Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-38, in which discontented Christian samurai and peasants rebelled against thebakufu– and Edo called in Dutch ships to bombard the rebel stronghold– marked the end of the Christianmovement. Soon thereafter, the Portuguese were permanently expelled, members of the Portuguese diplomaticmission were executed, all subjects were ordered to register at a Buddhist or Shinto temple, and the Dutch andChinese were restricted, respectively, to Deshima and to a special quarter in Nagasaki. Besides small trade ofsome outer daimyo with Korea and the Ryukyu Islands, to the southwest of Japan’s main islands, by 1641foreign contacts were limited to Nagasaki.Japanese society of the Tokugawa period was influenced by Confucian principles of social order. At the top ofthe hierarchy, but removed from political power, were the imperial court families at Kyoto. The real politicalpower holders were the samurai, followed by the rest of society. In descending hierarchical order, they consistedof farmers, who were organized into villages, artisans, and merchants. Urban dwellers, often well-to-domerchants, were known as chonin (townspeople) and were confined to special districts. The individual had nolegal rights in Tokugawa Japan. The family was the smallest legal entity, and the maintenance of family statusand privileges was of great importance at all levels of society. Economic DevelopmentEconomic development during the Tokugawa period included urbanization, more shipping of commodities, asignificant expansion of domestic and, initially, foreign commerce, and a diffusion of trade and handicraftindustries. By the mid-eighteenth century, Edo had a population of more than 1 million and Osaka and Kyotoeach had more than 400,000 inhabitants. Many other castle towns grew as well. Osaka and Kyoto became busytrading and handicraft production centers, while Edo was the center for the supply of food and essential urbanconsumer goods. The construction trades flourished, along with banking facilities and merchant associations.Increasingly, han authorities oversaw the rising agricultural production and the spread of rural handicrafts.Data as of January 1994file:///C:/Users/spanishprince143/AppData/Local/Temp/Temp1_Japan a Country Study Week 7.html (1).zip/My Files/Japan a Country Study Week 7.html 2/2

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